At some point, whether it was while watching a reality television show, seeing some kind of scandal online or in the press, or hearing just from other people, we’ve all heard about some kind of fake marriage. Some have gone into fake marriages with complete strangers in order to gain citizenship in certain counties. There was even news circulating about fake public marriages in order to hide some kind of secret publicity stunt. And even in some media, we’ll see a plot of a movie or novel where two people got drunk and married in Las Vegas.
But have you heard about people who married their best friend so that their parents would leave them alone? In case you didn’t pay attention to the title of the manga, that’s actually the main plot of this new story.
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment and written by the author of NTR Netsuzou Trap, Kodama Naoko released a new standalone manga that hits the heartstrings of yuri romance fans. I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up follows the story of Morimoto, a young female professional who’s parents won’t leave her alone about settling down and marrying a man. Continue reading my review of I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up
What do you get when you have a protagonist who’s curiosity gets the best of him, becomes the vice-president of an all but normal club, and has to learn how to deal with a robot-like girl? Throw in a few comedic anime tropes, a small cast of diverse characters, and an awkward, budding romance, and you’ll get this nice little light novel.
Do You Want to be Normal? is an original story by Koji Kojou, with beautifully done cover art by Mei Lin. The story follows the high school life of William Jackson, your below-average, good-spirited protagonist who gets ridiculed by other students for being easily emotional. After seeing a poster for an after-school club called “The Normal Club,” he has his first conversation with the smartest person in their grade and a beauty to the eye, but was far from “normal.” Alyssa Silverstein, otherwise known as “Alyssa the Alien” by her schoolmates, is an emotionless, monotone, high school girl with a rather robotic personality. Always looking for what is considered to be the “social norm,” she ropes William into various experiments and trials in order to gain a better understanding about what it means to be a normal. Along the way they manage to gather a small group of people to help expand the club, conduct group activities, and help each other truly find themselves and what “normal” means to everybody.
Right off the back, Kojou establishes that the main theme in this comedic, anime-style story is what it means to be “normal.” Across eleven chapters in this one novel, we see William, Alyssa, and the rest of the Normal Club go through a number of different trials and situations to help one another grown as a person. Each chapter is broken up to parts, acting like different scenes and events, which helps control the pacing and overall speed of the novel. This allows the reader to get a little bit of everything while they’re reading it: comedy, awkward tensions, some background history, the whole nine yards. And with the way it’s written, it actually works quite well when the reader wants to visualize everything as if it’s an actual anime that can be viewed online or on television,. Kojou’s use of common anime tropes and events doesn’t make it feel like some old run-of-the-mill light novel or anime that follows the exact same story plot in the exact same order. Each character helps create each scene and event that goes down, making everything feel cohesive and unique to the story.
That being said, there are a few things that shift the story in a strange direction at times. Without diving too far into the plot, there is one specific moment where we see William take action against something. And although the story was leading up to a dramatic point, what William does and how quickly he came to that point felt a bit out of character and rushed. Another moment is later in the novel when we’re introduced to another character. Even though the character is mentioned and does make an appearance, from the way the novel was set up, this one character doesn’t feel necessary. They could have been used just to provide more background information on the overall setting of the school, but from a plot point, they didn’t really add anything to the story; they felt like an extra that needed to be in a scene. Some may like what happens, while others may agree about it being a bit strange at points, but the best way to find that out is by buying the book and reading it for yourself.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Do You Want to be Normal? The story was well-rounded light novel. By putting a spin on common tropes and anime characteristics, Kojou created a small world inside of a book that could have easily felt like it could happen in the real world or have been a small series online. And you never know: maybe you’ll have a new outlook on what it means to be “normal.”
Do You Want to be Normal? Is currently available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle formats. If you want to learn more about Koji Kojou’s works and latest projects, follow him on his Amazon Author page and on Twitter. For more artwork from Mei Lin, check out her Twitter and Instagram pages.
I know there’s a weird-ass anime screenshot posted on here, but hear me out for a second.
So last night I was relaxing at my usual go-to bar after leaving work, just to unwind and take a load off before going home for the night. I was writing something up on my phone when I got a sudden hit of Writer’s Block. What I then did was I went onto Twitter and asked for an opening liner to help get the thoughts going.
A friend of mine shared this screenshot, and I had absolutely no idea what anime it was from, so I just winged it and wrote this. I didn’t look up the source until AFTER I wrote it.
The anime is called Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai-under the innocent sky (We Without Wings – Under the Innocent Sky.) I didn’t look too much into what the plot is about, but I did manage to find the scene where the screenshot came from. In case you want to watch it, here’s the link: Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai
And, after looking at the video, I don’t think this story was tooooo far off…
“Till death do us part.” It’s a simple line, yet it holds a deep and complex significance behind it. So many say those words, some fall apart rather quickly, and very few actually manage to make it until death is at their door.
In this case, death literally came for them but gave them another life: the life of a living skeleton. After living as a skeleton for so long he has forgotten what it’s like to be human. But he doesn’t mind it at all. However, his wife has a different idea about it.
After a few seconds of hearing my genuine laughter she finally looks at me again with a small smile on her face.
“But come on! You look handsome as a human, with your light brown hair and caramel-color skin. Why don’t you go to an alchemist to become fully human again?”
There’s well-found honor in accepting a duel from an opponent. Whether one uses a spear, a sword, or mace, a warrior with the heart for battle never lets an opportunity to test their skill go to waste. In this instance, a wandering knight in search of supplies for repairs stumbles upon a resident from a mountain landscape.
With an opponent with unusually red skin, the knight openly accepts the invitation to a duel. Should the knight win, they’ll get the supplies. And if they fail…?
She follows the red sky and can see where it transitions into the calming blue sky above the forest, “Just a bit further now.”
The figure’s barely covered in any clothing, seeming to only be dressed in armor created from red and brown scales that resembles a raging flame.
History has shown that magic had some kind of influence on the events in the past. Even if people couldn’t see it if a certain person acted a way that wasn’t deemed “normal” for that era, magic would be the explanation. Often executing or put to exile, people were outcasts for even the simplest of things that could easily be explained in the modern era.
However, in some of those cases, people were lucky when the person they killed or exiled actually did use magic, whether the public knew it or not. Now, as society has developed to a new age, there are some things that science just can’t explain.
Such as how this woman is floating high in the sky below the streets.
Calezia raised her hand towards the clear night sky. Somehow, even though there wasn’t a cloud in sight, a large bolt of lightning struck down, colliding with her hand.
One of the policemen screamed out, “Spread out, she’s about to fire!”
Geez, could tonight be any more boring? I’ve been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but I’ve got nothing. What a waste of my time.
I walk back over to the edge of the roof and peek over. All of the people on the ground look like tiny bugs from the up here. It feels like if I took a step over the edge, I’d crush half of the block to death with ease. I kill some time by acting like I’m crushing a few people between my fingers. The fun sadly only last for a minute until I get bored and sit on the edge, my legs casually dangling over thirty stories in the hair. I could feel all of the blood in my legs rushing down into my feet, leaving behind a warm, tingling sensation. I like it.
I let out a sigh and rub the corner of my eyes to get rid of the crust and gunk build-up. When I lie back, the bright, night sky fills my vision, numerous stars gleaming like the bulb of a flashlight. There’s one that stands out to me; it rests dead center of all of them and shines the brightest. I even extend my hand out to see if I could block out its glow, but its edges seem to reach farther past the palm of my hand.
“You must be a strong one,” I compliment the star as if it could hear me. I clutch my fist acting like I could capture it in my hand, “I wonder which star you belong to if you’re glowing so intensely. Perhaps my next target? Ohhhhh, if that’s true, that means I’ll be having one good time of a fight.”
In the middle of my thoughts, I could feel my blade vibrating meters away on the floor. I lift my head up and see it shaking in place, a red hue surrounding its black and blue scabbard casing. Somebody strong is approaching. After taking a few seconds to shut my eyes and rest, I prop myself up and take another glance at the ground below my blood-filled feet.
Just like before, nothing but normal civilians fill the cement and pavement walkways. Many of them taking leisurely strolls, while a handful try to squeeze through whatever opening they can find in order to rush to their destinations. A small number of cars cruise through the street, but it’s at a snail’s pace since the street is mainly a pedestrian walkway. And in the mass crowd of pedestrians walking through, there’s one that sticks out to me.
I can barely make out the finer details from this heights, but all I can tell is it’s a male wearing a navy blue colored suit. However, the thing following behind him is as clear as day. Behind him stood a massive figure, at least six feet in height. Its skin was blue in color, completely devoid of any natural, human tones. It’s physical structure would easily place it as the winner of a muscle building competition, every muscle flexing and protruding from its body. It lacks any body hair, including head hair, so it has a slight shimmer on it, almost like metal in broad daylight. It even walks with a confident stride as if it could take on the world and win in a matter of seconds.
It’s always a deadly game when wanting to rob somebody or something. There’s always the chance of getting caught and being thrown in jail to serve time behind bars. However, if one is able to get away with such an act, they can live a life of luxury and knowing they’re able to fill their pockets without getting caught.
However, if one of those places that’s being robbed turned out to be a den of a notorious and violent gang, it would be a better idea to hope that you don’t end up dead should you get caught. Even then, who would be stupid enough to even attempt such a foolish act?
Those who don’t have a choice.
“Hiro,” Masane began speaking, “what do you think this man’s reasoning is for breaking in? Think he’s in debt with another clan? Wanted to support his family?”
She crumpled up the lottery ticket, “You’re taking too long to answer. I got tired of waiting. Somebody hold him down.”
I swear, I hate when things don’t always go my way. First, I get an assignment that should have taken no more than twenty minutes and the next thing I know, it took me an hour. Thankfully, I was a bit drunk half of the time, but still, it was extra time wasted!
H.R better have some kind of way to repay me for that lost time. I mean, overtime pay would be nice, but it’s not enough! I should see if they can throw in an extra case of beer…
Regardless, I’m sure that once I speak to my boss, everything will be all settled out. She’s a pretty reasonable person who wouldn’t just drop things on me without a heads up, so she should already know that I want something out of this.
“What?!” I yell as I slam the door behind me when entering the room. “The only reason why I even came here was to complain about my last job!”
Yumiko ties her hair into a ponytail as she adjusts her desk chair, “What the hell happened with the last job? Did Takeo get away? Do I need to send a clean-up crew?”
“No. And if I needed a clean-up crew, I would have called it in beforehand.”
It isn’t easy being me. My entire job revolves around customer support, fulfilling calls and orders from my boss and other bullshit clients who don’t have the balls to do the job themselves. Then again, the pay for my line of work is pretty damn high, so I can’t really complain.
But when one of the calls I get involves shooting down a well-known cop hellbent on trying to crack down on crime and drug trafficking in the city, it makes you realize that the city is a lot more dirty than what the public can see.
Thankfully I have my trusty rifle in hand ready to shoot down whoever I’m assigned to.
Plus I get a bonus pay of beer along the way, so that’s a win for me too.
Blindly, I stick my hand in the bag and feel around until I can get a grip on what I was searching for.
We continue on with the living situation with Mr. Takiyama, our normal day-to-day human resident, and his mystical creature roommate, Rei the Harpy. It’s that time of the year for Rei to being the usual changes for birds, but it seems more complicated than it should.
Normally, if she was around other harpies, it would be no issue because any problem they have would be solved in a matter of second. But since she’s with a human instead, things don’t turn out how they usually should.
And with feathers constantly falling off, Mr. Takiyama’s trying his best not to see certain things that he shouldn’t see.
“I don’t care what you say.”
“Does this mean it’s okay if I look at you while we’re talking right now?”
In case you forgot how things started, read their fated encounter in Winged Friend.
Everybody’s starting to feel mixed emotions, causing a lack of sleep, confused thoughts, and doubt in themselves. Ryuko stays up at night, constantly thinking about the recent conversation with her older sister, Satsuki. For some reason, just thinking about it brings a sudden sense of embarrassment.
As for Jakuzure, she’s taken up a new activity to try and control the overwhelming emotions that dwell within. However, they seem to get the best of her and starts a spiral of actions that brings her a new rival.
How will these two be able to deal with their emotions when the main cause steps into play?
“Maybe you’re curious to see what she wants.”
I was here first. I was the one who was by your side ever since we were little. We grew up together, saw each other change, and now I’m put on the sideline all because some dead sister suddenly comes into your life?